Category Archives: UESF News

Fall Election Campaign Underway

Vital That We Pass Prop. 55 and Elect a New School Board

Volunteers Needed to Ensure Our Schools Have the Resources and Leaders We Need

Take Our Election Pledge Online

September 8, 2016

With Labor Day behind us election season gets underway and the stakes couldn’t be higher. We have the opportunity to pass Prop. 55, guaranteeing billions of dollars for public schools for twelve years by continuing a small tax on the top 2% of California wage earners. We also have the opportunity to elect a new majority to the Board of Education. UESF/COPE members have interviewed all of the candidates, and after careful consideration the Executive Board has voted to endorse Stevon Cook, Matt Haney, Rachel Norton, and Mark Sanchez.

With contract talks and the hiring of a new superintendent just around the corner, it is essential that we have the resources and the leadership we need in order to stop the massive turnover and displacement of educators and to ensure that our students and educators get the resources and support we need.

With mail ballots set to go out in just one month, it is very likely that the election will be won or lost in September. That’s where you come in.

UESF has an ambitious volunteer calendar for the coming weeks, including phone banking on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00-8:00 p.m., at SEIU 1021 (350 Rhode Island St.) and precinct walks and phone banks on Saturdays from 10:00-2:00 p.m. (also at SEIU 1021).

Please take the online pledge to support Prop. 55, our school board candidates, and to sign up for a volunteer shift today.

Contact UESF Political Director Ken Tray at ktray [at] uesf [dot] org for help arranging a meeting at your school to help organize your co-workers.

Free Housing Clinic for Educators – First Thursday of Every Month this Fall

Next Clinic:
Thursday, October 6th
4:00-7:30 p.m.
George W. Davis Senior Center
1706 Yosemite Ave.

With funding provided by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) through the 2015 Prop. A housing bond, housing counseling will be available directly to UESF members the first Thursday of every monht this fall. The counseling will be coordinated by Homeownership SF, a local nonprofit, in conjunction with the Eviction Defense Collaborative.

Services include eviction defense, home purchasing assistance with HUD approved counselors, and rental counseling. The clinics will be staffed by expert counselors and eviction advocates. Educators who attend are strongly encouraged to bring relevant materials to the counseling sessions, including: legal notices, landlord communications, current leases, household monthly budget, recent pay stubs for all household members.

Upcoming Sessions Include:

  • October 6th, 2016: Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center, 1706 Yosemite Ave., SF
  • November 3rd, 2016 : Eviction Defense Collaborative, 1338 Mission Street, SF
  • December 1st, 2016: BALANCE, 595 Market St., SF 94105

No RSVP is necessary; to access services just drop in. For more information go to

UESF Health & Welfare Fund for Members in Need

Grants Given on Rolling Basis: September 1 – December 15, 2016


UESF is currently accepting applications for assistance through our Health and Welfare Fund.  The funds are meant to provide emergency assistance to UESF members, certificated and classified. Priority will be given to those members who are homeless, fire victims, or who have suffered hardship due to the death of a family member.

Applications will be accepted any time from September 1, 2016 through December 15, 2016, with grants distributed on a rolling basis.  You may apply for up to $2,500.00. Paraprofessionals and substitutes must pay a $6.00 application fee, which is refundable for those who do not receive an award (Note: Certificated members do not need to pay an application fee because 50¢ of their dues goes into the Health and Welfare fund every month.

All applications must have the requested information and documentation.  Please call the UESF office at (415) 956-8373 if you have any questions.

UESF Book Review

New Year, New Book for the UESF Testing Committeethe-test-book

By Aaron Neimark
(originally published in the August 2016 SF Educator)

Many of us who sat in meetings during the professional development days in August before the school year started were tasked with trying to make sense out of loads of test data. What trends did we notice? Who struggled the most? Who became proficient? How can we help our students do better on these tests?

But I found myself asking these questions: How much time did it take to prepare our students to take these tests? What else could educators have done with their students instead of test preparation? What did our students know that was not reflected in these tests? Do our students’ families understand enough about the tests that we give their children and do they know about their opt-out rights? Where did the tests come from and what are some alternative ways to use authentic assessment?

If you’ve been thinking about these sorts of questions, there’s a book for you: The Test: Why our schools are obsessed with standardized testing—but you don’t have to be, by education journalist Anya Kamenetz. For those who are concerned about the present and future of American education, Kamenetz provides an important book focusing on where standardized tests came from, who controls them, what concerned parents and educators are doing about resisting standardized testing, and what kind of alternatives are out there (or on the horizon) toward gaining a much clearer picture of what our students are learning.

Kamenetz discusses the racist and biased origins of educational testing in the U.S. and the way politicians have pushed testing. Her chapter on opting out goes into important detail about parent rights and important legal considerations. She also features an interview with Jesse Hagopian from Seattle, who has been a key figure in fighting for authentic assessments for our students. Kamenetz also writes about some new and creative ways to better assess our students.

One Union One Book
As part of a new One Union One Book program this school year, UESF has purchased 20 copies of The Test, available for loan to school sites who wish to do a PLC on testing. If you are interested in checking out the books for your school, contact me by email at aaronneimark [at] sbcglobal [dot] net.

Aaron Neimark, a teacher at Feinstein Elementary, serves on the UESF Testing Committee.

UESF Night at the San Francisco Giants!

The Panda might be gone, but the Giants are still on track for another playoff run! Join fellow UESF members on September 12th at another Union night at the SF Giants!

UESF has purchased 200 tickets to the San Francisco Giants game on Monday, September 12th when the first placed Giants will take on the San Diego Padres at 7:15 p.m. Tickets will first be available to purchase for $20 each at our beginning of the year UBC trainings on August 10th and 11th at Rosa Parks Elementary and at our political training on August 27th. Get your tickets early as we always sell out. Limit 4 tickets per UESF member. Note: We are not ordering t-shirts for the game.

Timing of 5% Raise to Begin the 2016-2017 School Year

In April UESF and SFUSD agreed on a settlement of the UESF grievances filed regarding the implementation of the January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016 raises. The settlement, which impacts all members, moves the original January 1, 2017 raise to the beginning of the 16-17 school year, effectively making the raise 5% to start the school year. The raises will be scheduled as follows:

  • For all paraprofessionals the five percent increase will first be reflected on their July 20, 2016 paycheck.
  • For all certificated members hired before the start of the 1993-1994 school year, the 5% increase will first be reflected on their July 31, 2016 paycheck.
  • For all certificated members hired after the start of the 1993-1994 school year, the 5% increase will first be reflected on their August 31, 2016 paycheck.

Part Time UESF Area Representative Position Now Open – $40 Per Hour

UESF is looking to hire a new Area Representative for the coming school year. Area Representatives work with the UESF Communications Director and with UESF Staff Representatives to help school site leaders organize effective Union Building Committees, and to organize for the coming wage re-openers in the fall and the contract campaign next spring. The part-time position (20 hours per month) pays $40 per hour and is perfect for recent retirees who served as Building Reps or on Union Building Committees, or current members who are ready to take the next step in their activism.

Contact Communications Director Matthew Hardy at 956-8373 or mhardy [at] uesf [dot] org for more information. No formal resume is required, however, applicants will be asked to list their relevant union, volunteer, and organizing experience and to interview for the position.

California Labor History: New Book, But No Class?

Labor history comes alive in CFT Communications Director Fred Glass’s new book. But while over 100 UESF members have taken his successful course over the years, it now is in danger of getting axed by the administration. It will need enrollment by UESF members to survive.

Reprinted from the June 2016 SF Educator

For the past twenty years CFT Communications Director Fred Glass has taught a semester course in California Labor History for the Labor and Community Studies Department at City College of San Francisco. More than a hundred UESF members have taken the class.

UESF Executive VP Susan Solomon enrolled a decade ago. She found that it was “invaluable for members who wish to advance their knowledge about education unionism and its place in California history.” Buena Vista Horace Mann teacher Frank Lara took the class last fall. He said, “This class gave me great readings, filled in my knowledge of the struggles that led up to today’s world, and provided an opportunity to talk and think with people who care as much as I do about the future of public education.”

Glass was especially looking forward to the Fall 2016 semester at the CCSF Mission campus on Valencia Street. For the first time his students were going to be able to read from an actual book, instead of from handouts or a manuscript. That’s because his book, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement, is being published this summer by University of California Press.

“This is the first overview history of California labor written in the past forty years,” said Glass. “I saw the class as a laboratory to develop the book. My students have been an ongoing focus group on how to write these stories drawn from the past two hundred years of workers’ struggles for their rights, providing me with feedback on what worked and what didn’t.”

But Glass’s excitement came to an abrupt end a couple months ago, when he found out that the CCSF administration’s plan to downsize the college by 26% of its classes over the next several years had started this fall with a 6% across-the-board cut that included his class and one other among the Labor and Community Studies department offerings.

“You would think that the publication of a book that was written for a City College class taught by a longtime instructor would be occasion for the college administration to celebrate the accomplishment and claim it for the college,” said Glass.

According to Tim Killikelly, president of the CCSF faculty union, AFT 2121, “Instead of meeting community needs by expanding course offerings back to where they were before the Great Recession, the administration’s approach is being dictated by the rogue ACCJC [Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges]. They are like the Vietnam War general who said it was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.”

There is still a chance that the California Labor History course might be offered this fall. Labor and Community Studies department chair Bill Shields says that if twenty students sign up to take the class beforehand, it could be inserted into the schedule on Wednesday nights as a late start class, beginning in early September.

That’s where you come in. Send an email to Bill Shields, wshields [at] ccsf [dot] edu or call him at 415-550-4473 and leave a message, stating your intention to take the class. UESF president Lita Blanc says, “We reimburse members for taking Labor and Community Studies courses as an investment in union activism. Signing up for the class will have the bonus effect of showing the college administration that Labor and Community Studies classes meet an important need.”

In other words, the village you can help save is your own.